Product management workshop

development Feb 10, 2020
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The last few months have been very intensive for the Product management team at ITOMYCH STUDIO. We are involved in many outsourcing projects and activities. Since the main focus of the company is product outsourcing in the fintech sphere, we try to develop our product management team in all possible ways.

As a leader of the Product development team, I am interested in ensuring that my team can work autonomously and that its efficiency doesn’t depend on me. I can’t teach one to be better, but I can help them learn by themselves.

Based on my own experience, I can say that listening to the lectures may contribute the least to personal development. It turns out to be more useful to the person preparing for the lecture than to the listeners. Listening to the lectures may be more beneficial if the listener is looking for a solution to some significant and urgent problem.

Solving practical problems, discussing how and why specific steps were taken allows us to develop faster. I personally don’t approve of copying others’ ideas or making thoughtless decisions. It is of vital importance to work efficiently, that is why I always try to look for logic, reasons and patterns in specific actions.

Based on these motives, I decided to organize a closed workshop for product managers, which was dedicated to the pre-sale - the first and most crucial stage of working with clients. In view of the outsourcing business model, this stage reminds of an interview: we consider working with the client, while he, in turn, is considering working with usus.

The main task of this stage is to understand what the client needs. But is it that simple? The main problems that we encounter while working at this stage are the following:

  • The client has only a global vision of the product and hardly any understanding of how to implement it.
  • The client has no experience in the development of mobile applications and, therefore, many fantasies.
  • The client is not aware of the technical and process risks.
  • There can be several stakeholders on the clients’ side who have very different visions as to product implementation.
  • The constant staff turnover on the clients’ side results in every new team member trying to reinvent the product.
  • The client does not approve of the design, timing, scope, or people responsible for the product being developed.

There are a lot of questions and problems associated with the clients’ side. The more experience the product manager has, the more questions he or she starts to ask. Each new project teaches us to analyze and understand the client faster.

For this topic, I chose the workshop format precisely because I want managers to gain the skill of thinking about the product, its implementation and the ecosystem as a whole, instead of listening to what the client says only.

The workshop began with a discussion of general issues of product management and the outsourcing business model. After that we started the most exciting part of the workshop, which was the practical task. I, under the guise of a client, gave my description of the product, and the workshop participants divided into teams prepared their vision of product implementation. Such tasks are interesting in showing that people with different experience approaches choose various options for completing the task. And they are all correct, but you need to be able to assess the relevance of the application of a particular option. The rationale behind the solution was what interested me the most during the presentation of teams’ ideas.

Teams chose different tools - they drew user flow, wireframes, prepared presentations. Some even managed to make a short review of the market. However, it was a common mistake that the managers tended to present their own decisions as the ones pertaining to the customer, which resulted in inefficient work between the teams.

Also, the participants of the workshop did not question the client’s ideas. Having worked with a large number of startups, I learned to exercise critical thinking and, therefore, do not consider the client’s formulation of the task as the only right thing to do.

It was also important for me to find those zones and skills necessary for every participant’s development.

In general, I am satisfied with the event and I hope that this workshop helped my team members to get out of their comfort zone and look at their work from a different angle.

We will continue to conduct workshops for product and Delivery managers, but now the framework of Kharkiv Mobile Devs.

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